Anna Evans

Low Blood Pressure: What Is It and How To Avoid It

Low blood pressure or hypotension is not as stigmatized in society as high blood pressure, but it can be just as concerning.


Have you ever felt dizzy after standing quickly? This is one of the most common signs of low blood pressure (BP) and can be a result of hypotension. Hypotension receives less attention than hypertension, given its fewer risks and lower prevalence, however, can also be dangerous if not monitored and managed. Hypotension has several complications and should not be overlooked.

What is low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a condition that can cause your circulatory system to be unable to transport blood effectively throughout the body. This leads to organs and tissues in your body not receiving enough oxygen-rich blood.

According to the latest guidelines, anything lower than 90 mm Hg (systolic) over 60 mm Hg (diastolic) is considered hypotension.

It is important to note that low blood pressure can vary from person to person, so each individual should consult with their healthcare provider for an accurate benchmark of their normal readings.

The symptoms of low blood pressure

Most of the hypotension symptoms are caused by a lack of oxygen transported to the organs, in particular the brain. Symptoms include:

  • Light-headedness or dizziness

  • Fainting

  • Fatigue and lack of concentration

  • Blurred vision

  • Paleness, cold and clammy skin

  • Nausea

  • Rapid and shallow breathing

  • Changes in heart rate and rhythm

  • Numbness or tingling in the limbs

What causes low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure can be caused by a number of factors, including lifestyle choices and underlying medical conditions. Here are the most common factors that cause low blood pressure:

1Diseases and blood loss

Health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, Parkinson’s disease, and allergies can all cause hypotension. Severe injuries that result in blood loss can also lead to a drop in your blood pressure.


Some medicines can affect blood pressure levels – for example, diuretics (water tablets) are used to treat high blood pressure but can also increase your likelihood of having low BP.


Dehydration can cause the body to not get enough fluids. As the result, the amount of blood in the body (blood volume) decreases, leading to low blood pressure.

4Poor diet

If your body is low on folate, vitamin B-12, and iron, it is unable to produce sufficient red blood cells. This can lead to hypotension.


Adults older than 65 are prone to drops in blood pressure after eating or standing for long periods of time. There are also cases of hypotension caused by a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system among children and young adults.


Pregnant women are more likely to have low blood pressure due to the increased hormones in the body while pregnant. However, this is usually not serious and will go away after giving birth.

The dangers of low blood pressure

Some may say that hypotension is not as bad as hypertension aka high blood pressure. Although this may be true, low blood pressure can also lead to some serious complications if left untreated. For example, hypotension can lead to fall-related injuries, shock, heart damage, and even stroke.

! Fall-related injuries are the biggest danger caused by low blood pressure. People with hypotension are prone to dizziness and fainting, which can result in broken bones, concussions, and other fall-related injuries.

! Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s circulatory system is unable to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to vital organs such as the brain and heart. This can cause organ damage and sometimes death.

! Heart damage or even heart failure can also be a result of hypotension over time. This happens when the heart attempts to compensate for low blood pressure by pumping blood faster or harder.

! A stroke occurs when the brain does not receive enough blood flow. Hypotension can fuel this dangerous process because when blood flow is lower than normal blood clots may form.

How to avoid or significantly reduce the risk of low blood pressure

Low blood pressure can be treated with medicine, and by changing your everyday routine:

1Drinking plenty of fluids

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining your blood pressure. This means drinking 8 to 10 cups of water a day, as well as other low-sodium drinks like vegetable or fruit juices. But water is the best solution.

2Having little or no alcohol

Drinking fluids can help reduce the risk of hypotension, however, you should avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol dehydrates your body, decreasing blood volume and blood pressure.

3Getting sufficient salt

Low levels of salt can keep your body away from retaining the right amount of fluid. An average person should consume between 1500 mg – 2,300 mg of salt per day, according to The American Heart Association.

4Consuming nutrient-rich foods

Eating products rich in iron, folate, and B-12 is necessary for having normal blood pressure. Increasing the intake of foods like spinach, kale, nuts, beans and fortified cereals that contain these essential minerals can help support your blood pressure.

5Eating smaller portions

Eating large portions can bring your blood pressure down as your body struggles to digest the feast. It is recommended to eat smaller portions of food. This will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced and prevent drops in your blood pressure after having a meal. Easier said than done with Christmas around the corner!

6Cutting back on carbs

Carb-heavy foods, especially processed carbs, usually break down faster than other types of food. This can lead to blood pressure falling suddenly. According to studies, a diet with fewer carbs may help prevent hypotension, particularly in older adults.

7Exercising regularly

In an earlier article, we explained how regular physical activity can help reduce high blood pressure. You may be wondering, ‘why exercise if my blood pressure is already low?’. Regular exercise promotes healthy blood circulation, thereby bringing your blood pressure lower when its high, and higher when it’s low.

8Sitting with good posture

When seated, it is recommended not to cross your legs as this can block the flow of blood towards your heart.

9Standing up slowly

When you get out of bed or a chair it is important to stand up slowly. This helps your body adjust to the change in pressure and can help prevent sudden drops in blood pressure which may lead to dizziness or fainting.

10Using compression clothes

In some cases of hypotension it is recommended to wear special stockings, shirts, socks, or pants. These compress your body part and help your blood vessels to pump blood more efficiently, thereby helping to reduce the risk of low blood pressure.

How you can fight hypotension

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can be avoided by making a few lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly are important ways to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day and avoiding alcohol can help to maintain regular blood pressure levels. For those taking medications, it is important to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about any potential side effects that could lead to low blood pressure. By following these simple tips you can help to avoid the unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms associated with low blood pressure.

Hungry for knowledge? Here’s more

In this short yet very informative video, nutrition and medical expert Dr. Eric Berg explains simple and interesting connections between different low blood pressure causes. Watch this to raise your hypotension awareness and prevent the problem.

Healthypedia FAQ

Hypotension is when your blood pressure is lower than 90 mm Hg (systolic) over 60 mm Hg (diastolic).

The most common symptoms of low blood pressure are light-headedness, dizziness, and fatigue. Others include fainting, nausea, pale and cold skin, blurred vision, numbness, or tingling in the limbs, changes in heart rate, and rapid breathing.

You can fight low blood pressure by drinking plenty of fluids, consuming the healthy levels of salt, eating a nutrient-rich diet, cutting back on alcohol, and exercising regularly.

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